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Getting ready for Ocean's 21: MSC Cruises interview

The cruise industry has come to a standstill in the spread of COVID-19. Here, MSC Cruises chairman LYNNE CLARKE gives her take on how the industry will recover.


How has corona virus impacted your business life?

Technology has allowed us to be flexible and fluid, therefore working remotely is really exchanging one desk for another. We travel extensively and have worked in a similar manner while working in different locations. 

Virtual meetings have allowed us to maintain regular team contact. Structure and discipline is vital to the success of working remotely and personally my daily job tasks diary has become a critical component of my daily life. 

Time management is a lot easier, as there are not the normal disruptions of the office. Meetings are punctual. Therefore there are many positives. That being said it will be good to feel the spirit of team comradery again.


What reaction have you been getting from MSC passengers?

Naturally everyone has been affected differently. The future cruise credits have been well received and people are excited to rebook. Forward bookings are positive. 

People love to travel and experience different and new destinations, it tantalises our senses. This is what life is all about. Cruise offers all of this and hence the reason people are looking forward to getting back on the ships.


How are you passing the time in self-isolation?

I have become a lot more appreciative of the simple things in life and enjoying the tasks I have set myself. 

I am obviously like the typical person, as have cleaned my house, including the attic and garage, done a huge purge on things. What is not used is out. Marie Kondo would be pleased. 

I cook and bake, have resumed bush walks and very seldom partake of the fruit of the vines. Have resorted to doing handstands and cartwheels in the park as well!


Do you think the cruise industry has been targeted unfairly for criticism?

Blame games are unconstructive and do not pave the way for the journey forward. We have to remember cruise was not the cause or the source of COVID-19. 

The important aspect now is to work with the authorities and make necessary changes that will allow us to resume and offer passengers the delights of the world of the cruises. 



How will the cruise industry recover from this crisis?

The industry had already incorporated health and safety measures a number of years ago, such as deep cleaning, sanitisation, thermal screening, medical facilities, etc. 

We will enhance these protocols by working with relevant authorities, such as the medical and health authorities. There will also be new innovations, so working in a true partnership manner of co-operation and transparency we will recover.

Absolutely, cruises will recover from this crisis: this is reflected in forward bookings. The health and safety of passengers is of paramount importance and we will start when all the protocols are in place and we receive the go-ahead from the relevant authorities.


Are there any positives that can be taken from this situation?

We can all look to take positives from any situation. COVID-19 has affected the economy drastically and as long as we can learn from this tragic situation and adjust accordingly and make the necessary changes to allow people to feel safe then that is a positive.

From a humane aspect, we have become more giving and caring and appreciative of what we have, and if we can maintain this as well, that is indeed another positive.


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Written by: Lynne Clarke as told to Jon Underwood
Published: 13 May 2020

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